Background: This study aimed to assess the contribution of material, behavioural, cultural and psychosocial factors in the explanation of socioeconomic inequalities (education and income) in oral health of Dutch adults.
Methods: Cross-sectional data from participants (25-75 years of age) of the fifth wave of the GLOBE cohort were used (n = 2812). Questionnaires were used to obtain data on material factors (e.g. financial difficulties), behavioural factors (e.g. smoking), cultural factors (e.g. cultural activities) and psychosocial factors (e.g. psychological distress). Oral health outcomes were self-reported number of teeth and self-rated oral health (SROH). Mediation analysis, using multivariable negative binomial regression and logistic regression, was performed.
Results: Education level and income showed a graded positive relationship with both oral health outcomes. Adding material, behavioural, cultural and psychosocial factors substantially reduced the rate ratio for the number of teeth of the lowest education group from 0.79 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.75-0.83) to 0.92 (95% CI: 0.87-0.97) and of the lowest income group from 0.80 (95% CI: 0.73-0.88) to 1.04 (95% CI: 0.96-1.14). Inclusion of all factors also substantially reduced the odds ratio for poor SROH of the lowest education group from 1.61 (95% CI: 1.28-2.03) to 1.12 (95% CI: 0.85-1.48) and of the lowest income groups from 3.18 (95% CI: 2.13-4.74) to 1.48 (95% CI: 0.90-2.45).
Conclusion: In general, behavioural factors contributed most to the explanation of socioeconomic inequalities in adult oral health, followed by material factors. The contribution of cultural and psychosocial factors was relatively moderate.